Looking for the best things to do in Da Nang, Vietnam? Look no further. In this post you’ll find a list of historical, cultural, and natural attractions In Da Nang not to miss.
This is a guest post from Catalin Geangos. Follow his adventures on his blog TravelTrained.
Da Nang is a beautiful coastal city located in central Vietnam, but it’s often overshadowed by its neighbor Hoi An. It’s home to a number of luxury beach resorts where you can spend your entire holiday enjoying the sun, sand, drinks, and more.
It’s also a great place to stop for a few days if you’re traveling Vietnam solo! It’s safe and there’s a big community of digital nomads and backpackers, so it’ll be easy to make friends.But there is so much more to the city of Da Nang, so much culture to drink in.
So, if you’re wondering what to do in Da Nang, take a few deep breaths, grab your day bag and let’s explore some of the best things to do in Da Nang.
Discover the Best Beaches in Da Nang
Da Nang is the 3rd biggest city in Vietnam, yet its beaches are nothing like the typical not-so-good-looking city beaches that you can imagine. Closest to the city you’ll find Bac My Han beach and My Khe beach – this Da Nang beach is also called “China beach” as this is where the soldiers came to relax during the Vietnam War. These are part of a 30 km stretch of beaches that go all the way from Da Nang to Hoi An.
Go a little bit further to the Son Tra Peninsula to find some beautiful beaches with a jungle background and almost no visitors. If you’re up for a 45 minutes to an hour ride, then don’t miss Lang Co beach and its fishing village. Since this is on the way to the Hai Van Pass, you can easily combine the two for a day trip.
Check Out the Dragon Bridge
Stretching over six hundred and sixty-six meters, the Dragon Bridge is the longest bridge in the entire country of Vietnam. Its design, in the shape of a dragon, also makes it one of the biggest Da Nang attractions you can find in the center of Da Nang. If you can, take a stroll along the waterfront on Saturday and Sunday evenings to see a light show on the bridge that ends with the dragon shooting fire and water from its mouth.
Have Fun at Ba Na Hills
One thing you are probably not expecting to find in Vietnam, is an amusement park with a French village, a German village, and Roman statues but Ba Na Hills is just that, and more. I don’t really know how to describe Ba Na Hills – this half amusement park half cultural park is located in the hills outside Da Nang, and is a lot of fun.
To get to the park, you’ll first have to go on a ride on one of the world’s most impressive cable car lines (together with the Phu Quoc cable car that was built by the same company Sun World). When you purchase a ticket to Ba Na Hills, the cable car ride is already included in that. The views that you get from the cable car are worth the trip alone!
The Golden Bridge with its giant hands is probably the most famous attraction in the park – I’m sure you must have seen it on Instagram. Once you’re done taking photos here, you can explore the French Village, the Fantasy Park with its amusement park, the spiritual zone, the Alpine Coaster, and the German Beer Garden, among other attractions. You definitely won’t get bored!
➤ I suggest buying your Ba Na Hills admission ticket in advance to avoid queues as the park can get pretty packed. Unless you are coming with your own car, I strongly suggest buying the ticket that also comes with transportation from/to the park as it’s pretty far from Da Nang.
Hike at the Marble Mountains
One of the best things about the entire country of Vietnam is its natural beauty, and one of the best ways to experience that beauty and really immerse yourself in it is hiking at the Marble Mountains. Located around 8 kilometers (5 miles) outside of Da Nang, the Marble Mountains are actually five separate hills made up of a combination of smooth marble mixed with limestone.
To enjoy an incredible view, you’ll have to sweat your way through a few hundred steps, but it’s worth it as it’s one of the best things to see in Da Nang. It’s recommended that you wear a good pair of boots because the weather has made some of the steps a little more precarious than others. Also, avoid coming at the time when the sun is the strongest.
Once you are there, don’t forget to check out the hidden caves inside the Marble Mountains with the Buddha statues and places of worship.
➤ This half-day tour to the Marble Mountains and the Son Tra Peninsula from Da Nang is the perfect (and affordable) introduction to the nature and temples and pagodas of this area. BOOK IT HERE
Take a Day Trip to Hoi An
There are really no excuses for visiting this area and not visiting the hyper charming town of Hoi An. Located about one hour away from Da Nang, Hoi An is one of the most beautiful destinations in all of Vietnam with its characteristic yellow building, lantern-adorned streets, and candles floating on the river – it’s no wonder it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. I would recommend spending 3 full days in Hoi An, but if you have limited time, a day trip is a great idea.
Some of the best things to do in Hoi An include wandering around the Old Town, exploring the countryside and the paddy fields, getting a suit or a dress tailor-made, and relax by the river with a drink or a traditional egg coffee.
➤ If you prefer to visit Hoi An’s Ancient Town with a guide, check out this half-day walking tour with a guide that will show you all the highlights in the center of the city. If you’re more interested in exploring Hoi An’s countryside with its villages and rice paddies, check out this half-day bike tour instead.
➤ Another great option to combine a visit to Hoi An with the My Son Ruins, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, is to join a full-day tour that includes a walking tour of Hoi An, lunch in Hoi An, and a visit to the My Son ruins, plus of course round-trip transportation from your hotel. BOOK IT HERE
Learn about History at the Cham Museum
Vietnam is a country rich in history and the Cham Museum will appeal to any history buff (it’s also a great idea for a rainy day!). The museum details the history of the Cham people, an ethnic group of Austronesian origin in Southeast Asia. Not only this is the only Museum documenting the Cham’s history, dating all the way back to 192 CE, but it has also been open since 1915!
During your stay, you can drink in over three hundred terracotta and stone works, most considered masterpieces, ranging in age from the seventh to the fifteenth century.
Snorkel at the Cham Islands
After learning some of the history, you might want to consider a trip to the neighboring Cham islands, a World Biosphere Reserve recognized by UNESCO. These eight islands were originally settled by the Cham people, many of whom still live there today, with fishing being the largest occupation amongst the locals.
After exploring the local culture, you can explore the beautiful coral reefs and the colorful schools of fish that call them home – and the good news? You need nothing more than a snorkel and some fins. The islands take about an hour to get to Da Nang by boat, but you could also camp overnight if you wanted to stay longer.
➤ After a speedboat ride from Da Nang, you’ll get to snorkel in the best snorkeling spots of the area, and you’ll enjoy a sea walking experience. You’ll have time to relax and lunch at Bai Chong beach. This is such a fun day trip! BOOK IT HERE
Take a Cooking Class
If you’d like to bring a little of the Vietnamese cuisine flavor back home with you, then a cooking class is a great way to learn how to whip up these delicious dishes for yourself (and one of the top things to do in Da Nang). Plus, it’s a great idea for a rainy day when hiking or relaxing at the beach are out of the question.
➤ Join a local chef, Jolie, and learn how to cook 4 traditional Vietnamese dishes. You’ll start with a visit to the market where you’ll look for the ingredients, then you’ll head to Jolie’s house for cooking and of course enjoying the food once it’s ready. This tour includes transportation from your hotel. BOOK IT HERE
Visit the My Son Ruins
The My Son ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) outside of Da Nang, are cluster of abandoned Hindu temple ruins which, according to archaeologists, were built between the 4th and 14th centuries for the kings of Champa. These temples were built to honor the Hindu god Shiva.
If you’re into history and culture, you don’t want to miss these ruins. They are located in the mountains, so it’s also a great chance to explore the mountainous region of Central Vietnam.
➤ The easiest way to get to the ruins is to book a half-day tour to My Son ruins that includes transportation from/to your hotel in Da Nang, your admission ticket and an English-speaking tour guide that will tell you all about the ruins. BOOK IT HERE
➤ If you prefer to visit more at once to make the most of your time, check out also this full-day tour to My Son + Marble Mountains which includes transportation, lunch, and a tour guide.
Enjoy Nature at Son Tra Mountain (Monkey Mountain) + Linh Ung Pagoda & Lady Buddha
Located in the Son Tra Peninsula, Son Tra Mountain is part of a national park and home to many endangered species. In fact, the name Son Tra Mountain translates to Monkey Mountain in English due to it being home to a very rare species of monkey called the red-faced monkey (red-shanked douc langurs). A visit to Monkey Mountain in Da Nang will allow you to enjoy some of the hiking trails. The area in fact features winding trails that you can enjoy on foot or with a rented bicycle.
Son Tra Mountain rises seven hundred meters above sea level, so make sure you wear some good hiking boots and don’t overdo it. As always, during your visit remember to be respectful of the animals that call the area home and take your trash with you.
During a visit to Son Tra Mountain, it would be nearly criminal to miss out on the Linh Ung Pagoda, one of the most famous places to visit in Da Nang and vicinity. The pagoda in itself is worth a visit, but this place is mostly famous because here you’ll find the tallest statue of Lady Buddha in all of Vietnam. The statue is 67 meters tall and it was built on top of a platform that was built in the shape of a blooming lotus.
Check Out the Phap Lam Pagoda
Another great pagoda to check out in Da Nang City center is the Phap Lam Pagoda, which is a 2-storey building. The pagoda is set amidst colorful gardens that are dotted with several sculptures of the Buddha. Phap Lam is known for creating a relaxing and serene setting to find a few moments of silence and meditation while sitting in the central courtyard, right in the middle of Da Nang city center.
You can also find statues to the Goddess of Mercury and Dai The Chi Bodhisattva. There are several food carts around the pagoda that sell some authentic vegetarian Vietnamese food to enjoy.
Visit the All-Pink Da Nang Cathedral
Vietnam is a country that is home to many different people, and many different religions, including Catholicism.One od Da Nang places of interest is the Da Nang Cathedral, that was built in 1923 in what is known as the Gothic-style, and it’s also pink. I bet you weren’t expecting that, were you? Due to its unique design, the cathedral is one of the most famous Catholic churches in Vietnam.
Not only is it pink, but the cathedral boasts color stained-glass windows, a large bell tower, and an iconic weather vane in the shape of a rooster. In fact, the locals have nicknamed the cathedral Con Ga, or Rooster Church.
Go Shopping in Da Nang at Con Market
If you really want to get a taste for the local culture in Da Nang, then a trip to Con Market needs to be on your itinerary. Boasting over two thousand stalls, this market is big enough that you can find almost anything you could possibly need or want during a trip to Da Nang. The stalls sell everything from clothes, to footwear, to local handicrafts and so much else. Definitely one of the best place for shopping in Da Nang.
The Con Market has been operating in the area since the 1940s and was renovated to its present style in 1984. Of course, the Con Market is also one the best places to try the street food offered from the various carts and cafes that operate in the area.
Have Fun at Sun World Asia Park
If you’re up for a day trip full of amusement and culture but you don’t want to go too far, Sun World Asia Park is one of the most fun Da Nang tourist attractions for the entire family. The park, owned by the same company that owns Ba Na Hills, is broken up into three different zones: the Amusement Park, the Cultural Park (a themed area which tells the culture of 10 Asian countries), and the Central Zone (where you’ll find the Sun Wheel).
One of the largest attractions in the park is the Sun Wheel, which soars to a height of 115 meters – the view from up there is incredible! Asia Park boasts a wide variety of exciting rides, cultural shows, and other adventures that you will remember for years to come. You can easily spend a whole day here!
➤ To avoid queues and having to find a taxi, you can buy online an affordable combo that includes your admission ticket + round-trip transfer from your hotel.
As you can see, there are plenty of things do in Da Nang for all interests. If I forgot about some cool activity, please leave me a comment!